The federal government is set to trial its Healthy Welfare Card in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia.
By
Myles Morgan

16 Nov 2015 - 5:36 PM  UPDATED 16 Nov 2015 - 6:43 PM

TRANSCRIPT

Natalie Ahmat: The federal government is set to trial its Healthy Welfare Card in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia.

It's being called a 'full-frontal' assault on drug and alcohol abuse in the region.

Political reporter Myles Morgan explains.

Myles Morgan: Kununurra and Wyndham will join Ceduna in South Australia as trial sites for the Healthy Welfare Card.

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister Alan Tudge unveiled the design of the card last month.

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Halls Creek rejects Healthy Welfare Card
A community in the Kimberley region has refused the federal government's plan to trial its Healthy Welfare Card.
Alan Tudge, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister: It simply won't work at the bottleshops, it won't work at the gambling houses and you won't be able to get cash from it.

It doesn't matter if you're black or white - if you're of working age and on income support in Kununurra - you will soon be put onto the card.

"It simply won't work at the bottleshops, it won't work at the gambling houses and you won't be able to get cash from it"

Myles Morgan: Eighty percent of welfare payments will be put on the card; the other 20 per cent can still be used as cash.

Local elder Ian Trust told the ABC's Lateline earlier this year that something dramatic needed to happen in Kununurra.

Ian Trust, Wunan Foundation chairperson: I sort of come to the conclusion that unless we come in with some sort of an interventionist reform agenda, especially around welfare, nothing's gonna change.

Myles Morgan: But the idea is for Aboriginal people to benefit too.

Ian Trust: The flipside of all this of course in terms of the reform agenda, the welfare reform agenda is also having incentives, such as more housing, better quality education, jobs or traineeships and so on, that people can be attracted to once they're starting to change their lives around.

Myles Morgan: The government says it will also invest an extra one million dollars in the East Kimberley on things like rehab and youth services.

Most importantly, the government says it is considering giving the power to a local leadership group to change the 80-20 balance on the card if someone is meeting certain requirements.

The government is continuing to negotiate with a reluctant Halls Creek community to trial the card there as well.